Horizontal Directional Drilling

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is a low impact method of installing underground utilities along a defined underground path using a surface-launched drilling rig. HDD offers significant environmental advantages over traditional trenching or cut and cover techniques, particular when surface disturbance must be kept to a minimum and sensitive ecological receptors are in close proximity.

Close up shot showing a HDD rig

HDD technique

We have been involved with the development of HDD since its very inception, having first introduced the technique in Europe in the 1980s. HDD projects are undertaken in various stages:

  • Design and methodology – our in-house Technical Bureau is adept at complex HDD design and developing robust technical methodologies;
  • Early contractor involvement, permitting and stakeholder management – we provide value engineering to optimise construction planning whilst managing complex stakeholder interfaces and permitting/consenting requirements;
  • Project execution – HDD projects are ordinarily delivered in three stages:
    1. Pilot bore: a small diameter bore is drilled along the desired route, before the hole is enlarged for duct or pipe installation;
    2. Reaming: this enlarges the bore with the help of bentonite and other additives to maintain stability;
    3. Pullback: the duct or pipe is pulled through the reamed hole.
Man in orange PPE organising pipe casings

HDD expertise in-house

We are a genuine frontrunner in complex HDD delivery. In the last few years we have pushed the envelope in terms of what is achievable with HDD, delivering some of the most innovative and technically challenging projects. By refining the technique and developing new methods, HDD has become a more financially and environmentally attractive option for our customers.

Our unique in-house capability allows us to undertake all stages of project and programme execution, from concept design to full EPC delivery and commissioning. We are leaders in our field.

Photo looking down the rig and over at Aaron

HDD landfalls and outfalls

Landfalls and outfalls require a great deal of planning and technical expertise. VolkerTrenchless Solutions has significant international experience delivering HDD landfalls for undersea pipelines and casing pipes for gases, fluids and signal cables, as well as outfalls for cooling water and wastewater. With recourse to other parts of the VolkerWessels UK Group we can manage complex marine spreads, including jack-up barges and offshore support vessels.

Aerial of EA1 drilling

Shoreline and coastal drilling

Thanks to our comprehensive knowledge of geology, soil mechanics, engineering and project delivery, we select the correct drilling method and apply this successfully in a diverse range of ground conditions, be it marshland, rock or gravel.

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